The DS-2019 is the “certificate of eligibility” for J-1 status. All Exchange Visitors must have this document in order to receive a J-1 visa. J-1 degree-seeking students receive the DS-2019 from the Office of Admissions with their admission letter or shortly thereafter. All other J-1 Exchange Visitors are issued DS-2019s by the Office of International Services at the sponsoring academic department’s request.
Change of Status Note: OIS does not process or support a change of status applications. If an applicant is already in the US on another non-immigrant status other than J-1, they must exit the US, visit the US Embassy, obtain a J-1 visa, and re-enter the US on a J-1 status.
OIS Processing Time: 10 business days (incomplete applications with missing items can take up to 1 month)
Selecting a Start Date: OIS requires Departments to select a start date two months from the date the application is submitted to OIS. This allows for adequate processing time with OIS (2-3 weeks), shipping the DS-2019 abroad, obtaining an appointment at the US Embassy (3-4 weeks), receiving the J-1 visa (1 week), and travel to Los Angeles.
DS-2019 Maximum Duration Allotted: The maximum duration allotted for an initial DS-2019 application is 2 years. Extensions are granted based on the exchange visitors category and can be submitted 1-3 months prior to the DS-2019 end date.
Application Requirements (Initial & Transfer)
- Internal Requisition for $250 (New & Transfer requests)
- DS-2019 Request Form
- Copy of Passport for Exchange Visitor & dependents
- Copy of the Invitation letter
- Proof of Funding for Exchange Visitor & dependents
- Copy of the education section of the Exchange Visitors resume/CV (1st page only)
Additional Requirement for Non-Degree Students:
An additional letter from the department is required for non-degree students to verify that they will participate full-time in their prescribed course of study. Please refer to sample letters below.
7. Full Time Verification Sample Letter for Individual J-1 Non-Degree Student
Full Time Verification Sample Letter for a Group of J-1 Non-Degree Students
Additional Requirement for Scholars Transferring-In:
8. Include a copy of current DS-2019 for scholar and their dependents.
Please note: Scholars who wish to change their status to J-1 must discuss their eligibility requirements with a J-1 advisor at OIS.
- The Department Facilitator submits typed Application to OIS
- Email all documents in a single email attachment to J1exchg@usc.edu
- Please ensure that all required documents are submitted at the time of application. Incomplete application packets will not be processed.
- Subject Line of email should identify Campus, Request Description: Name of Exchange Visitor (i.e. UPC, New DS-2019 Request: Tommy Trojan or HSC, Transfer DS-2019 Request: Tommy Trojan)
- The Department Facilitator indicated on the application will be notified regarding missing application items and when the DS-2019 is available for pick-up. Processing time is 10 business days but may take longer for incomplete applications.
- The sponsoring department will retrieve the DS-2019 from OIS and mail to the J-1 Student/ Scholar with a handout called “Information for J-1 Student/Scholars”. The DS-2019 is also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility”.
- The J-1 may request the SEVIS ID number (starts with N00..) located on the top right corner of the DS-2019 to schedule a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy. You may send the SEVIS ID by email but do not send a scanned copy of the DS-2019.
Additional Instructions for Transferring into USC
J-1 Exchange Visitors are eligible to transfer their SEVIS record to USC from another institution in the US. When Exchange Visitors transfer to USC, their length of stay does not re-start. Time spent at previous institution must be calculated into total program duration allotted.
- J-1 Exchange Visitors who wish to transfer to USC must speak with a USC academic department.
- The academic department will submit a NEW DS-2019 Request Form
- (see instructions above) to OIS that indicates transfer to USC.
- All three parties must agree on the transfer release date in SEVIS/ start date at USC (OIS, USC sponsoring academic department and current institution).
Note: The SEVIS release date selected should be your first day of employment at USC.
Note: There should be no interruption in employment between your former institution and USC. You are not permitted to take a vacation in between your transfer.
Note: The release date is very important, as you cannot be paid by USC until you have been released. At the same time, once you have been released, you are no longer eligible to receive funding from the previous institution.
- OIS will schedule an appointment directly with the Exchange Visitor to complete the transfer on their first day of employment (ie: SEVIS release date).
- During this 30-minute meeting OIS will complete your transfer, check-in, and issue you a new USC DS-2019.
Note: Please remember to bring your check-in documents with you rather than submit to your department.
Note: If you are unable to meet with an OIS advisor to complete your transfer to USC you may lose your immigration status.